Bryce Harper may have slumped recently, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had a fantastic start to the season. He’s two homers shy of the league lead, and both the league leaders above him play half their games in Colorado. He simultaneously owns one of baseball’s best walk rates and one of baseball’s best isolated-slugging percentages. Bryce Harper is the man. Numbers weren’t necessary to make this point. All in all, Harper’s offensive performance to date has been worth nine runs above average.
Adam Eaton‘s been better. Not with the bat — Eaton’s just putting up his typical 117 wRC+ again. No, Eaton’s been better than Harper’s bat with his glove. Using Ultimate Zone Rating, our default defensive metric here on the site, Eaton’s glove has been worth a league-leading 9.6 runs above average. Use Defensive Runs Saved, where Eaton is running laps around the league with 12 runs saved, and it gets even better — Eaton’s defensive performance becomes equivalent to Mike Trout‘s season at the plate.
So this funny thing is going on with Adam Eaton in right field — a position he’s playing on an everyday schedule for the first time, having moved over from center field to accommodate Austin Jackson — and, especially considering Eaton’s outfield defense has been something of an enigma in the past, this development is something that’s begging to be explored.
Adam Eaton’s made 10 noteworthy plays this season, which, combined with all the other routine ones, have already been worth 12 Defensive Runs Saved. That’s more than Josh Donaldson had all of last year. Eaton’s number might not (probably won’t?) stay that high all year, but it’s that high right now. Let’s watch Adam Eaton save 12 runs.
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